Title: Informatics and Faculty Intraprofessional Assessment and Gap Analysis of Current Integration of Informatics Competencies in a Baccalaureate Nursing Program
Author(s): Chito Belchez
Background: In its effort to improve patient safety and quality in the U.S. healthcare system, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) called for the integration of health information technology and informatics in the education of healthcare professionals, especially nurses (IOM, 2001, 2003, 2012; National League for Nursing, 2008). Despite this recommendation, the integration of clinical informatics in nursing education has been slow and inconsistent, leaving gaps in the knowledge and skills that future nurses need to use clinical informatics competencies effectively in a variety of healthcare settings.
Purpose: This quality improvement project had three aims: (1) to assess the current state of informatics competency integration in the baccalaureate program; (2) to identify gaps in teaching informatics competencies in the curriculum; and (3) to present the gap analysis and clinical informatics coverage gap/needs assessment related to informatics competencies of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice, Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN), and Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER).
Method: A nursing informatics competency checklist worksheet was created based on the competencies outlined by the AACN, QSEN, and TIGER. This worksheet was completed by faculty and an informatician to assess the current state of integration of informatics competencies in the curriculum. Gaps between the two assessments were analyzed.
Results: The informatician survey showed coverage of 94% of the competencies, while the faculty member survey showed coverage of 82%. There were three major findings: (1) coverage of informatics competencies related to basic computer literacy, clinical information literacy, and health information literacy was adequate; (2) competencies associated with the history and evolution of nursing informatics were underdeveloped in the curriculum; and (3) there were inadequate opportunities to develop and have students apply informatics competencies explicitly in most of the courses.
Conclusions: Based on evidence, the nursing informatics competency checklist can be used as a guide in assessing and evaluating current undergraduate curricula and determining how nursing informatics competencies are integrated in nursing programs. The gap analysis helped faculty highlight areas of strength and identified deficiencies in informatics competency development within the program. The project lays the foundation for further work on applied assignments in the baccalaureate program. Additionally, a next phase of a curricular quality improvement project can include developing and integrating a comparable set of informatics competencies in other prelicensure nursing undergraduate, such as the associate degree program, RN to BSN completion and graduate programs. Results suggest that further education is required in the field of teaching informatics through additional training workshops and continuing education opportunities for faculty.